On Holiday Snobs Seek Culture Whilst Ordinary Folk Seek the Beach

Posted: April 4, 2011 in Life, Travel
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Some folks have pretty bizarre ideas about other people’s travel preferences. I recently followed, with growing amazement, an online forum thread that more or less castigated anyone who promoted the idea of getting out and about exploring the holiday destination they were visiting.

Only ‘snooty gits’ and ‘high minded snobs’ (their words) were weird enough to want to seek out some local culture apparently. Ordinary folks prefer to soak up the sun in their holiday resorts; preferably surrounded by the familiarity of British bars and restaurants (Chinese, Italian and Indian restaurants are included in this).

Lying around a beach or a pool in a holiday resort all day long is not my glass of sangria, it would bore me to the high heavens. it represents dullsville…on a cloudy day…when everything is shut. But I recognise it’s what many people want from their holidays. I have friends who fall into that group; different people like different things; simple as that. Each to their own, live and let live and…(add your own cliché here).

But a statement that really irks me is when people come out with a variation of ‘I’ve been working hard so I’ll give the culture seeking a miss this time. All I want to do is chill out by the pool and stay around the resort.’ It’s a cop-out line.

This sort of attitude winds me up for a number of reasons:

  1. It could be seen to imply that people who do go out and explore the destinations they’re visiting haven’t been working hard. It’s a ridiculous notion.
  2. It suggests that experiencing a different culture is hard work. It’s a ridiculous notion – the sequel.
  3. There’s also an inference that doing anything else other than lying a round a pool and hitting the local Brit bars is boring (hello irony).  Return of the ridiculous notion part 3.

It’s also completely dishonest; people who use this as an excuse for only hanging out by the pool avoid culture-seeking not because they’re tired after working hard in their jobs. They avoid culture-seeking because it doesn’t interest them. And if that’s the case why not just admit it instead of concocting lame excuses? I have more respect for the people who are upfront about this.

As for the silly comments about people who seek out different cultures being ‘high-minded’, those are a defence mechanism from people who feel threatened by others who enjoy travel rather than those who just enjoy a hotel pool. The language used speaks volumes and identifies the user as not having a clue about the treasures beyond gold that experiencing another country’s culture can bring; it’s not all always about churches and museums.

Andy and I are a couple of those oddballs that actively seek out ‘cultural’ activities and a typical day when we’re travelling for pleasure consists of:

Early-ish rise, hit the nearest beach, bask in the sunshine and catch up on lost sleep for a couple of hours, eat lunch, go exploring (utilising trains, planes, automobiles, tuk-tuks, elephants or whatever is to hand), enjoy a ‘post cultural experience’ beer or two, have a siesta, eat dinner (local cuisine of course), hit the liveliest local bar or fiesta (with live music preferably), get slightly merry, head home in the wee small hours, fall into bed, sleep…reboot.

The secret that the pool dwellers don’t realise is that travellers like us don’t just enjoy the cultural experience…we get the beach and bars as well as stockpiling some great memories that live on way, way, way after the suntan has faded.

  1. From one ‘odd ball couple’ to another, this gave me a good laugh and it is so very true

    • dragojac says:

      Glad it gave you a laugh. It was what I call a therapeutic blog – good for keeping me sane…ish 🙂

  2. Les Bedell says:

    Whether people admit to it or not they can’t help but take in some of the culture of their chosen holiday destination.
    I recall in my years as a publican one group of lads who saved hard for a ‘holiday of a lifetime’ in Corfu in July. On their return they were as white as when they left. They were proud to say that they had not seen the sun since they spent the day sleeping and the nights in the bars. Despite being drunk very night they managed to absorb, remember and be influenced by the different culture.
    With just a week or even two weeks some tourists feel they dont have time to devote energy to visiting places of interest and merely wish to chill out and get a suntan. Feeling there is not enough time to explore is part of it. This time I’m visiting Tenerife for 30 days so I will certainly devote more time to exploring and absorbing the culture. At the moment I’m trying to put together an itinerary based on your blogs for which I am grateful. Any tips?

    • dragojac says:

      I think that’s right that some people don’t feel they have the time to visit places…but for me that’s always been an integral part of a holiday and is usually also a lot of fun. I always felt it was a bit of a waste visiting somewhere and not taking the opportunity to experience it. I once got talking to a couple on the plane back from India who hadn’t left their hotel. Two weeks in India without stepping outside their hotel. I couldn’t see what the point was in going so far. They could’ve come here for the sun 🙂

      Let me know when are you coming, what resort you are you staying in and what sort of things do you like and I’ll see if i can help?

      • Les Bedell says:

        Very kind of you. Arriving 17th April depart 18th May. Staying at Balcon del Mar Costa Del Silencio. Hope to see passion play at Adeje on 22nd April and visit Tegueste on 1st May for Romeria de San Marco. Is Garachio worth visiting on 5th May? I dont have any other firm plans yet. Willing and ready to visit anywhere and do anything as long as I’m fit enough for it. I’m also house hunting. Intend to move to Tenerife October 2013. Already have a one bed apartment on Balcon but willing to consider anywhere on the island outside main tourist areas.

      • dragojac says:

        If you get to both the Passion and the Romería in Tegueste you’ll get to see a very different face of Tenerife. There are very few visitors to Tegueste especially…even though there are thousands upon thousands of people there as this pic from last year shows. It’s one of my favourite romerías. A tip though if you do go and are driving – park as soon as you see others parking. It doesn’t matter if it’s straddling a pavement in a place where a parked car would normally end up with a fine. On fiesta days in places like Tegueste there’s an amnesty on parking.
        Garachico’s good at anytime and the drive over from the south west coast through Santiago del Teide is much nicer than doing it by motorway via Puerto – especially if you stop for lunch or a coffee at the Casa del Patio (aka Senorio del Valle) in Santiago del Teide.
        There’s loads on when you’re here. There are events in Santa Cruz throughout the whole of May to celebrate the founding of the city, so it’s a perfect time to visit (haven’t seen the agenda yet but it should be out this month). On the 3rd of May is the biggest firework display in the Canaries (and one of the biggest in Europe – so they claim) in Los Realejos…but it’s a bit far for you and it goes in until after midnight.
        Craig David is playing a festival in Adeje on 23rd April and the Moscow Ballet is in Santa Cruz (23, 24 April) and Adeje (25 April).

        There’s a whole load more so I think you’ll find plenty to see and do when you get here…and good luck with the househunting.

  3. Richard says:

    You should really link to the forum threads with this kind of crap so that we can appreciate the full horror. eg “Only ‘snooty gits’ and ‘high minded snobs’ (their words) were weird enough to want to seek out some local culture apparently. Ordinary folks prefer to soak up the sun in their holiday resorts”. So these are the only alternatives – to be a snob or to be ‘ordinary’ 🙂 which reminds me why I have long since abandoned the particular forum that I suspect you’re referring to.

    As to what you should or shouldn’t do on your hols … “each to their own and all that”. In our case, we’re mostly interested in it being as windy as possible, when it doesn’t blow culture might get a bit of a chance 🙂

    • Richard says:

      Just realised that maybe my comment isn’t very clear … I meant that the forum thread had the ‘crap’ (not your blog post !) and I was saying that you should have included an actual link so that we can appreciate the context of just what got you into rant mode.

      I agree with you – there is no real either-or situation between relaxing in the sun and / or taking in some ‘culture’. Absolutely.

      And I agree with Nell that our typical day can be spookily like yours (as long as the wind isn’t blowing of course 🙂

      • dragojac says:

        It was as clear as the water lapping a Greek beach amigo 🙂 I did think about a link…but I didn’t want to submit anyone else to forum hell and possibly ruin the rest of their day.

  4. Tenerife Nell says:

    Good of you to share your keeping sane moments to our amusement!

    Our typical day mirrors your own almost exactly.

  5. I’m there with you, the Red Queen and Richard … the inverse snobbery is staggering, as is the irony of culture being found “boring” by those who’d prefer to spend their days in Brit bars or around the pool.

    • dragojac says:

      ‘Inverse snobbery’ – perfect description. It’s an incredible state of affairs if the time has come when people who actual travel to experience something different are considered ‘not normal’. Oh how the irony builds 🙂

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